By Darren Gutteridge
Mark Andrews vs. Pete Dunne: Just like last week, the two British guys had to work hard to get the crowd invested, but they got them by the end. I think this was a better match bell to bell than last week’s Tyler Bate vs. Trent Seven match, with a hell of a final straight. I’m still not sold on Dunne being “the” guy though. He’s got the chops in the ring, but I’ll still need to see a good promo and a better look before I’m convinced he deserves the spotlight he’s receiving.
Bobby Roode vs. No Way José: The ho-hum start to the Glorious era continues. The match was actually better than I expected near the end, but I still found it impossible to care, and seeing perennial jobber José take a lot out of Roode didn’t do much for the champion’s standing.
Return of Kassius Ohno: I went on Twitter when news broke of Ohno re-signing to say it didn’t excite me, as my exposure to him had been his NXT run and his limited time in ROH after that, and it’s an understatement to say I wasn’t impressed. The torrent of opinions to the contrary, pointing me towards his apparently stellar work on the indies ever since his NXT run made me slightly more optimistic that upon his return I would finally “get” the appeal. So far however, NXT creative has done him a disservice. For a kick off, would anyone of cared had he returned as Chris Hero? Kassius Ohno is such a comically bad name. Then they pulled his original debut despite hyping it on social media, then they had his first appearance be backstage consoling Shinsuke Nakamura at Takeover. And now, in his actual return to TV, he got portrayed as more of a challenger of the week than a serious main event contender to Roode. This week should have been a simple case of a run out, an elbow, and a statement promo. Now, he already seems like just about anybody else in the upper mid card of NXT.
Ember Moon vs. Liv Morgan vs. Peyton Royce to determine the No.1 Contender to the NXT Women’s Title: While there wasn’t anything horrifyingly bad in this match, something felt off. Already thrown by the fact that Billie Kay wasn’t in this match for no apparent reason, my discomfort was increased by the comical amount of time Moon spent on the outside. It approached parody how many times she was flung to the floor. And unfortunately, the action between Morgan and Royce wasn’t enough to salvage things, although I do think it is a good idea to showcase Royce as more of a threat in singles action (though we all know what will happen when she takes on Asuka).